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#AndrewSingerChina Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue 35 (Special)

China and America: The Presidents Special Edition

Xi Jinping and Joseph Biden (Doug Mills The New York Times via AP, Pool)

The Filoli “Dynasty” Estate gathering happened. Presidents Xi Jinping and Joseph Biden met, talked, walked, and ate together for several hours. In answering my question from yesterday, it turns out that they both spoke with and at each other. Diplomacy and honesty were highlighted.

On the former (diplomacy), each President delivered his main talking points. For China, stop trying to contain and constrain us and get used to the fact that there is another major player in the world. For America, we will keep pushing for human rights, economic protection from unfair competition, and our right to be top dog and go where we want.

The two sides agreed to make substantive improvements in discussing and hopefully addressing fentanyl and counternarcotics efforts, the climate, and artificial intelligence. As for the announced agreement to restore military-to-military and President-to-President communications, this is apparently much more important to the Americans than to the Chinese.

On the latter (honesty), a report in the New York Times days before this summit detailed Xi Jinping’s true feelings about America and the need to be militarily prepared to deal with the competition between the two countries. These took the form of copies of his internal speeches dating back a decade that were released and excerpts published. As for America, as he walked away from the podium at the end of his press conference, Joseph Biden answered a question off microphone in which he again asserted that Xi is a dictator because he heads a communist party government.

Though nothing changed in the grand scheme of things, China and America continue to be distrustful and wary of the other, the day was a success in that both sides acknowledged publicly that we need each other. This and continued communications on issues aligned and contested provides a path forward.

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